There are so many ways to foster school spirit, whether it’s through community service, school-wide initiatives, or just plain old fun. Find out who in your community needs help around the house, and plan a day where students can sign up to rake lawns and bag the leaves. Students at Beloit Memorial High School found that doing common yard work is a fun way to get everyone out of the house, spend time together, and help out your community.
Use craft paint and ribbons in your school’s colors to create a custom cowbell for pep rallies and sporting events. Create a drop box at your school where classmates can donate books. Challenge classmates to come up with a design for a mask that celebrates school spirit.
Create a video where you interview each classmate and ask them about their design and how it represents your school. If you have the funds, work with a local printing shop to get the masks made and sell them to raise money for your school. Make it catchy so that years from now, it will still pop into alumnis’ heads and remind them of the good times they had at your school.
This activity is a good opportunity to connect with your school’s cheer squad and collaborate! Celebrate your seniors by broadcasting highlights of their greatest accomplishments on social media. This makes a great annual tradition that builds school pride and stronger neighborhood-school ties.
Students, teachers, staff, parents, and alumni get together to give a day of service in the community, whether by cleaning up sidewalks, planting trees, visiting seniors, or serving at food banks. Welcome classmates back from winter or spring break with holiday hallways.
Decorate school hallways for different cultural traditions to educate students about different holidays around the world.
A Color Run is a healthy and fun way to show your school spirit. Use liter soda bottles and pony beads in your school colors. Consider sharing this meaningful gesture as an activity for back to school, end of year, Teacher Appreciation Week, or Activity Advisor Appreciation Day.
In this example from American Nicaraguan School in Managua, Nicaragua, students created bulletin boards to celebrate the stories of maintenance staff. Link guided meditations, online puzzles and games, yoga videos, and other fun ways to take a break to your school’s website. Surprise them by decorating their sidewalks or hanging posters with positive messages during the evening or over a weekend.
During school events and game time-outs, student council members or cheerleaders lift the lid on the spirit can, signaling for the crowd to cheer. The spirit can holds T-shirts and candy, which can be thrown out to the loudest fans. Design your own “frame” with your school mascot or colors and let students line up for photos.
Advocate for seniors to get designated prime parking spots and work with your school administration to allow custom decoration. Use your creativity to create a spirit stick with your school colors.
This example uses an empty gallon water bottle, a broomstick, beads, and ribbon.
Award the stick on a revolving basis to the grade or class that shows the most school spirit throughout the year.
Students go on a scavenger hunt around the school, completing certain tasks. Host door-decorating contests with themes such as holidays, homecoming, spirit days, or making the world a better place.
Reveal the winning classroom over morning announcements and award the winners with prizes like pizza or an ice cream party. Paint rocks with a positive word or message and place them throughout your school and community. During a stressful time for students like state testing or finals week, set up a large blank canvas in the common area along with paints in your school colors.
Encourage students to “throw” paint against the canvas using paintbrushes and sponges.
Support your school’s field day activities by organizing and running different events and competitions. Sell spirit wear so everyone can get decked out in your school colors.
You could even create an online pop-up shop that makes it easy for families to buy school spirit wear from home. You can even add background music and host an opening reception event that you promote on your school’s social channels. You can make it a classic jam like “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor or something more contemporary like “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, or create an entire playlist of appropriate songs to use as entrance music to pep rallies, assemblies, and ceremonies. Check out these song tips from Education to the Core, along with other great ideas for spirit assemblies. This unity wall at South Lakes High School in Reston, Virginia, celebrates their diverse student body but makes it clear that while they come from many different backgrounds, they are all Seahawks! A school song is a tradition that will create lasting memories for generations.
If you have a talented student or teacher musician, you could even compose an original song. Challenge your student leaders to pass out compliment cards with notes such as “You have great style,” “I love your smile,” and “You’re a great friend!” Include instructions on each card that direct the recipient to pay the compliment forward to someone else—creating a butterfly effect of kindness across your school! Recruit art students to showcase their talents by painting their peers’ faces with school colors. Schedule it on a pep assembly day to give students the opportunity to amp up their school spirit.
Have different homerooms, school clubs, or teams make their best spirit posters to display in the halls. Having time to casually socialize with teachers and staff helps ease the transition for students and families.
This could be a good opportunity to engage with art students to create an even more impressive display! Spread a king-size sheet or painter’s tarp on the side of the school to project a movie and invite students and their families to bring lawn chairs or blankets. If the weather’s cold or rainy, turn your school gym into a movie theater and spread out the gymnastics mats for seating. Engage students and foster a positive school climate by hosting a tournament or game night.
At Cimarron-Memorial High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, they hosted a virtual Among Us game where participants were divided into different Google Meet rooms, each moderated by a student council member. For example, introduce the theme at your back-to-school night and incorporate it in your school newsletters throughout the year.
Read this great article from Education World on how to engage the whole school in a unified, yearlong theme. Write kind notes to your cafeteria staff and give them to students who are standing in line for lunch, along with directions to pass the note to a cafeteria staff member. With minimal effort, your whole student body can overwhelm your cafeteria staff with compassion and gratitude!
In the last week of school, host a senior breakfast to celebrate students’ graduation and give them a positive send-off.
Create a schedule and share it with families and students, so they can drop in and get help on a variety of subjects. At Shadow Ridge High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, their Week of Respect consisted of “Celebrate Diversity Day” for sharing cultural celebrations and traditions, “Respect Yourself Day” for posting about something that makes you happy, “Respect Each Other Day” for sharing their contributions to the community, “Respect Your School Day” where students were encouraged to wear school colors, and “Blue Out Day” when student leaders prompted online discussions about how to defeat online negativity and promoted anti-bullying efforts.
A student council can help to organize the program with support from administration and serve on the selection committee, nominating awardees and writing the citations. Graduating high school seniors walk the halls in their caps and gowns to inspire younger students to go the distance.
Plus, check out these theme day ideas to steer clear of, and some recommended alternatives!